Wham, bam, thank you ma'am: hot cloth cleansers from Liz Earle, No.7, Superdrug, The Body Shop, and balance me

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am: hot cloth cleansers from Liz Earle, No.7, Superdrug, The Body Shop, and balance me

I'm doing pretty well on my resolution to cleanse and treat my face as soon as I get home. This past week was my first week on full-time hours, and it's been a good experience taking a bit of time to slow down and unwind at the end of the day. 

I'd used them on and off over the past few years, but 2014 was the year of the hot cloth cleanser for me. They remove makeup and cleanse without feeling like you've stripped your face, plus adding a cloth of some kind helps to gently exfoliate things overall. I use chemical exfoliants, but sometimes you just want a bit of a scrub to feel like your face is clean, you know?

Granted, you could use a cloth with just about any cleanser--and I would argue that it makes them more effective, not to mention much more ecologically-sound--but generally legit hot cloth cleansers are formulated with oils and waxes, don't include the harsher surfactants, and are designed to be fairly gentle on the skin. I smush the hot cloth cleanser all over my face, which melts off the makeup I've been wearing, and then wipe it all off with a cloth. If you wear seriously waterproof eye makeup you may need to go in and clean up with a cotton bud, but it's never more than a few flecks for me. 

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Plantæ cleansers: a review

I didn't realise it until taking photos for this post, but the products in my bathroom are laid out in order of use. Cleansers and contact lens stuff to the left, makeup and the rest of my face care to the right. I mean, that just makes sense, right? I'm lucky enough to have a bathroom to myself for the next few months, and have taken the opportunity to spread my massive stash all over.

Toothpaste splotches! Sorry.

Toothpaste splotches! Sorry.

Plantæ are a New Zealand-based, certified organic (Biogro) brand with an ethos of using sustainably sourced plant-based materials. For the past six months of so, two of their cleansers have taken pride of place to the left of the sink. Sinks, even -- I've been housesitting.

I was lucky enough to win the Hydrate Pacific Blue Lavender Rich Cream Cleanser in a giveaway on a blog. The only cream hot-cloth cleanser I'd previously used was the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, which was pleasant enough to use but didn't amaze me, so I wasn't expecting to love Plantæ's offering. 

I have fairly oily skin with large pores through my t-zone. Although this product is indicated for normal to dry skins, I found that this softens and starts working out the sebaceous filaments in my pores, which I'm then able to remove gently with a wash cloth. In some cases I have to gently squeeze with the washcloth over my fingers. 

(Yeah, I know you don't have to squeeze out SFs because they're just going to fill up again, but these guys stretch out my pores and make them much more apparent. Plus quite often they get blocked and voila, pimples.)

The cleanser is white and has a thick moisturiser-like consistency that spreads easily. I use about a finger-scoop worth, so less than half a teaspoon (in which case an 85ml jar will last around six weeks if you used it daily). I tend to only use this when I have been wearing makeup, or want a deeper cleanse and manual exfoliation with a wash cloth. It definitely removes makeup effectively, although I prefer using a dedicated makeup remover for that, saving this for my second cleanse.

It's not a cheap cleanser, but I see it almost as a luxury product. It's a great one to have around even if you use it only a couple of times a week for a "spa treatment" sort of feel. I would prefer it in a pump bottle like their cleansing milk for normal skin, although that may clog easily.

I've spent a much shorter length of time with the Purify Lemon Oil-Control Cleansing Gel. Plantæ recently had a 'buy two get a moisturiser free' deal at their stockists (I got mine from Wise Cicada in Newmarket), and this was one of my picks. 

I don't buy too much into the whole 'purifying botanical extracts with antioxidant and antibacterial properties' thing -- I've still had my usual crop of blemishes while using these. It doesn't lather, but it has plenty of slip (this is supposedly due to the Quillaja saponaria extract, but I suspect the glycerin helps as well) and cleanses really effectively, without ever feeling stripping on the skin. It even removes makeup! Not waterproof eye makeup, but I didn't expect it to. 

It's a light brown, translucent, runny gel, and one pump is less than a 1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) -- I find that plenty to cleanse with in the mornings, although it's best to use it on a dry face because otherwise it's just too runny. You'd need two separate pumps to remove makeup and cleanse if you don't use a separate makeup remover. 

I've also been combining it at night with Freeman Clay Mask with Mint and Lemon and using it as an cream cleanser alternative now that I've used up the other one. This is a really refreshing and calming mix that cleanses really well, but doesn't leave my skin tight and squeaky clean. Fair warning though -- the clay makes it a bit messy when you go to rinse it off. 

The cap is currently making a good home for my Tillandsia.

Both of these have a lavender flower water base, but the scent is a little more subtle in the cream cleanser.

I can't believe I just wrote that much about two cleansers, but I guess I just have a lot of feelings about them.


Rich Cream Cleanser: Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tincorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Water Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Bentonite , Xanthan Gum, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol,Pinus Sylvestris Bark Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Abies Alba (Silver Fir) Oil 

Oil-Control Cleansing Gel: Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Glycerin, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Arctium Lapa Root Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Extract, Saponaria Officinalis Extract, Caprylyl, Capryl Glucoside, Quillaja Saponaria Wood Extract, Honey, Carrageenan, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Leptospermum Petersonii (Lemon Tea Tree) Oil, Totarol

Things I liked but probably won't repurchase because [reasons]

I'm a bit of a product hussy,  and always like to try new things. Sometimes I like these things, but not enough to garner a repurchase. Here are a few.

Amazing but so expensive.

Tasty! But again, so expensive.

Tasty! But again, so expensive.

YSL Top Secrets Integral Cleansing Oil-In-Gel 

Why I liked it: This is a fantastic makeup remover and cleanser. It starts off as a gel formulation, turning into an oily consistency after you've mushed it around your face for a while, removing any makeup or sunscreen in the process. I usually used a hot facecloth to remove it, but it also easily emulsifies with water and rinses clean.

Why I won't repurchase it: It's way too expensive! I paid something like $70 for it because I was retail therapy-ing one day and if you bought two YSL products you got a gift with purchase. I was a depressed idiot. It's $59 on Strawberrynet, if you really have a hankering for it. 

Marvis Aquatic Mint Toothpaste (previously)

Why I liked it: It tastes awesome, kind of like a minty melon. The "aquatic" part of the name confuses me. It's a toothpaste and I'm not sure that a toothpaste is ever going to rock my world, but it's nice.

Why I won't repurchase it: It's a $14.50 toothpaste.

Decent moisturiser and some good ingredients.

Decent moisturiser and some good ingredients.

Double check what you order, Teresa.

Double check what you order, Teresa.

Loved the cooling sensation, but unnecessary.

Loved the cooling sensation, but unnecessary.

Olay Total Effects Day Cream for Normal Skin SPF15

Why I liked it: This had a good texture -- decent hydration and absorbed well. It contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), a cell-communicating ingredient which helps maintain the skin barrier function and may help with acne and pigmentation. There aren't many drug-store products with niacinamide in it.

Why I won't repurchase it: It was just slightly too heavy in texture for me. I'm also trying to use skincare with fewer silicones and lower alcohol content. I do have another Olay day cream with SPF waiting in the wings, so will be trying that next.

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for Normal/Combination Skin

Why I liked it: Along the same lines as the Olay moisturiser, this was good for hydration. It also contains a decent list of antioxidants.

Why I won't repurchase it: Again, I bought the wrong formulation! I actually meant to get the one for oily/combination skin, which I believe is a lotion and comes in a pump bottle, a much better way of packaging something that contains antioxidants. Rather than use it on my face, I ended up using it as a hand cream, which worked well as it wasn't too greasy. 

Clarins High Definition Body Lift (gift with purchase, not full size)

Why I liked it: I really enjoyed using this after exercise, post-shower -- it had a cooling sensation which is great for the summer, because I tend to overheat. It has a really beautiful light gel texture. I believe this has now been reformulated, or at least renamed to Body Lift Cellulite Control.

Why I won't repurchase it: This was a gift with purchase. I don't pay attention to my cellulite, so I can't speak as to its effects in those terms. Sure, I'm overweight, but I try not to think about that too much because it just causes a shame spiral and I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THAT. Eat a healthy diet and exercise, don't count on expensive creams (and this stuff is expensive in its full size incarnation) to fix something that probably doesn't need fixing.